happy valentine’s day! i love this day purely because everything is pink and pretty and chocolatey and sweet. i would be happy if every day could be decorated with polka dot hearts, pretty flowers, and red and pink candy. this recipe is partially devoted to my valentine’s day from last year, where i enjoyed real english scones and tea in london with my friend. read about that story here. that memory in my mind is so rosy and cozy. first of all, i love london. it’s one of my most favorite cities in the world, and everything british makes me so happy. and second of all, having rose tea and authentic scones in a tiny little tea shop we found by accident while wandering near butler’s wharf after visiting the tower of london is just going to be hard to beat in future valentine’s days i think. just thinking about it now makes me want to go back! since that day, i’ve loved scones. and as you have probably seen, there are a couple of scone recipes on this blog, including a cranberry walnut scone which might be similar to this valentine scone. because i make them so much, i usually say in each post how much i’m convinced that that recipe is the one. and then i go on and come across another recipe, and blah blah i’m convinced all over again. so if you will, humor me and go along with whatever scone i’m infatuated with at the moment. i can almost guarantee there will be bigger and better to come.
by the way, these are cranberry scones. along with being referenced to english scones i had on another valentine’s day, they are festively red and white. the recipe is adapted from a really great cookbook that i highly recommend, flour.
makes 8 scones
- 2 c. all-purpose flour
- 3/4 c. wheat flour
- 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. baking soda
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1/3 c. granulated sugar
- 1/2 c. dried cranberries
- 1/2 c. (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cubed
- 1/2 c. cold buttermilk
- 1/2 c. cold creme fraiche
- 1 cold egg
- 1 egg yolk, lightly beaten
- 2 tbsp. extra granulated sugar for sprinkling
preheat oven to 350°F. in a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, granulated sugar, and cranberries. cut in the butter using two knives or a pastry cutter (i got one for christmas and was really excited to use it finally!), until the butter pieces are no bigger than pea-sized. in another bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, creme fraiche, and whole egg until thoroughly mixed. slowly pour this buttermilk mixture into the flour mixture, and stir just until the dough comes together. there might be some loose flour mixture at the bottom of the bowl. use your hands to gather the dough into a round shape, and turn it over a few times to pick up the loose flour on the bottom of the bowl. turn it over in your hands a few more times to make sure the loose flour is mixed in. you want to make sure that you handle the dough as little as possible. you can see in the pictures that there are big cracks and layers visible in the dough before it’s baked, and that is good. this is what becomes flaky in the oven!place parchment paper on a baking sheet, or lightly grease the sheet. pull apart large balls of dough, about 2-3 inches in diameter, and place on baking sheet. press down slightly on the tops to flatten the dough balls into disc shapes. make sure they are at least an inch apart because they will expand a little while baking. brush the egg yolk over the tops of each scone, and then dust with the extra granulated sugar. bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the tops and edges are golden brown. cool on a wire rack.
believe me, you need creme fraiche in your life. and once you realize how ridiculously easy it is, your life is officially altered. when i lived in germany, creme fraiche (“krem fresh”) was something i bought very often. it’s originally a french product, but i think it’s very common all over europe. it makes almost everything taste better in both baking and cooking, and at the grocery stores there it cost less than 50 cents for a small tub normally. i was in wegmans the other day and took a peek at their creme fraiche prices and i became so sad, although i didn’t expect it to be cheap here. it’s not really popular this side of the pond, so i guess they can get away with charging a stupid price for it (the tub i saw was about 5 dollars). i really wish that america would open it’s eyes to this precious ingredient, but until then homemade will do. actually now that i think about it, even if creme fraiche was cheap here i might just continue making it on my own because it’s super simple. and it’s sort of like a little chemistry experiment in your kitchen that makes you feel smart even though you barely did anything. this recipe i found in a new cookbook i have from flour bakery, and i was really happy to see it in there. i never knew how easy it was to make it on my own.
like i said before, creme fraiche goes with so many things. it can be used in baking, or added to sauces and baked savory things. you can also whip it with some sugar and dip some fruit in it. oh the versatility! one of my favorite ways to use it is as a pizza topping. when it’s baked it becomes so creamy and dreamy. just add it on top of the crust under some mozzarella cheese and whatever toppings you like and then bake it. i know, you’re welcome.
1/2 pint of heavy cream
1 tbsp. buttermilk
in a bowl or tub you can cover, stir together the heavy cream and buttermilk. cover and let sit at room temperature overnight, or for at least 10 hours. after that, stir it and it should be thicker. the consistency should be somewhat similar to sour cream. it will keep in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
as i mentioned before, i’m temporarily living in berlin for a few weeks to house sit a friend’s apartment. the last few days i stopped at the grocery store a few times to stock up the kitchen. i’ve been eyeing the figs lately, and ended up buying one yesterday. i really like buying new food because i’m curious of the taste, but i also like experimenting with different ways of preparing food. i’ve never eaten a raw fig before, and i’m not really sure why. i like fig newtons, but even those i haven’t eaten in a very long time, and i don’t think those can be considered the equivalent of a real raw fig. i googled (like i do everything these days) on how to eat a fig. i wasn’t sure if you can eat the skin, or if you have to cook it, or how to know when it’s ripe. on a side note, one of the reasons i don’t eat seafood often (besides not caring for the taste) is that i usually don’t know how to eat it. i always feel so awkward and embarrassed trying to figure out which parts are edible and which parts will make me look like a dummy if i eat them. anyways, back to figs. there were lots of recipes online for baking figs and adding them to sweet and savory dishes. but there were quite a few articles mentioning that you can totally eat them raw, skin and all. i did come across a really simple way of serving them with creme fraiche and honey, and i decided to try that because it just sounds nice. and the images from the recipe were so pretty, so that is what probably won me over. basically all you do is quarter the fig, and then serve with with a dollop of creme fraiche and drizzle some honey all over. easy peasy. and i have to say that a fig is probably one of the prettiest fruits to be photographed. it didn’t taste like much to me, i’m not sure if i ate it maybe too soon and it wasn’t exactly ripe enough, or maybe it’s because i added the extra flavors and i didn’t pay attention to the fig. the texture was nice though. and combined with the honey and the cream it was still very tasty.
later in the day i made a homemade pizza. i couldn’t find packets of yeast in the store i was at, so i bought a little bag of bread flour which already includes it. i haven’t ever made a homemade pizza before i think, but it turns out it is oh so easy. i followed the directions on various recipes on how to make dough, just skipped the step about adding the yeast of course. on top of it i put creme fraiche, arugula, tomatoes, zucchini, and mozzarella. before adding the toppings, i sauteed the tomatoes and zucchini with garlic first, and then added them on top of the cream and arugula. then it only had to bake for maybe 15 minutes and it was done! creme fraiche has turned into my favorite pizza topping. it’s so common over here in europe, and i’m afraid when i go back to the states i won’t find it as often, or it will be double in price. here it’s unbelievably cheap. i bought a mini tub yesterday for 30 cents. and it goes with everything. i think when you add it to recipes, the frenchiness of the name makes it sound super fancy without actually doing any super fancy tricks.
oh yeah, and also i had a beer with it. pizza and beer always is good together, and in germany you can buy single bottles, which means you can make many beer tastings!